Weekending: Drinks, Booty By Brabants Class, Christmas Partying & Home to Maine

Good morning! Is it just me or are the weekends/December FLYING by?! This weekend was no different… except for the fact I’m in the office today instead of working from home ūüė¶ Oh well- I’m traveling to South Carolina for a few days this week so it’s not a big deal! Let’s recap the weekend, though ūüôā

Friday

After work on Friday, I went to the Legal C Bar at the M Street shops with a work friend. We had a blast chatting and sipping on some vino. Once we parted ways, I headed home and realized that RM would not be around for dinner. I was in no mood to stay in by myself- and we had no food- so I walked over to Social Restaurant for dinner and drinks… by myself! It was actually nice- I ordered a pizza, kale and bubbly. Always bubbly. And, since I posted a photo on Instagram, the manager gave me another free drink. I’ll take it!

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RM and his cousin ended up joining me and then our friends Bob and Kristen randomly popped in, too! Kristen and I have recently connected through blogging and it’s been so fun. She writes an awesome blog highlighting on restaurants and travel and her posts are so beautifully written and have really nice photos. You need to check it out!

Saturday

Rm and I took our time getting up and then puttered around the house and took a walk before I headed into the city for a Booty By Brabants class at the BFX Studio. I had heard so much about Kelly’s class and about the BFX studio so I was pumped to get invited to check both out! BFX is a beautiful studio with nice locker rooms and class space and Kelly’s class was FULL of energy, smiles, sexy dancing and sweat! Remember how I talked about getting out of your comfort zone and getting comfortable being uncomfortable? This class was a great example of doing this! I want to do a full review of the class in a separate post so I’ll leave it at that. Such a fun Saturday!

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After the class we had a chance to try out juices and smoothies from Nourish Your Soul and paleo meals from Paleo Life. The juices & smoothies were fantastic and I was so excited when the founder of Nourish Your Soul gave me a free smoothie to take home. It was the perfect post workout treat. I also really enjoyed the food items that I sampled from Paleo Life. If you’ve never heard of it, Paleo Life is a healthy meal planning & delivery service which is great for those who are “too busy” to eat healthy. They seem pretty affordable and deliver to all around Boston so if it’s something you’d be interested in, check them out!

After the event, I did some Christmas shopping and then baked a batch of the most delicious Hidden Avocado Brownies from Lexi’s Clean Kitchen to take to Jessi and Chuck’s party. It’s the second time I’ve made them and I’m totally obsessed. Not only are they easy, but they taste so rich & moist you’d never know there was an avocado in them!

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The party was a blast! It’s always so fun getting dressed up, laughing and chatting with friends, drinking wine & eating fun party food. Thanks for hosting such a fun party guys!

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Sunday

I woke up on Sunday and packed up to head to Maine for the day. I hadn’t been up there for a long time and was in need of a little quiet time with my parents. I stopped at Kittery for a little shopping before meeting my mom for lunch at the Springvale Publick House. I enjoyed a locally brewed beer and homemade turkey chili. Both were unbelievable!

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Once I got home, I helped my parents bring in and decorate the tree, squeezed in a workout and relaxed with some vino and blogging. It was such a nice Sunday!

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For dinner, we had Pork Tenderloin Medallions, baked sweet potatoes and roasted broccoli and everything was great!

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One last thing before I sign off for the day… my friend Kelly works for a company called Schoola which collects & resells gently used clothes to help provide schools with funds for various things. Right now, they have an incredible sale going on where you can buy BRAND NEW Athleta clothing for super discounted prices and the best part is that a huge portion of the proceeds go to the Mala Fund. I recently requested a bag so that I could send them some clothes I no longer wear. You can use that same link if you’re looking for a good place to donate your gently used clothes! And, if you want to shop some brand new Athleta clothes for a great discount, check out this link. I just bought the black sweater!

Questions for you: What was the best part of your weekend? Did you have any holiday parties? Have you ever grabbed dinner at a local bar by yourself?

Weekending: Recharging the Batteries

Ahh, it really is amazing how much better I feel after a weekend in Maine. I think it’s a mix of the slower-paced lifestyle and lots of family/friend time that is exactly what I need to recharge my batteries. Here’s a recap!

Friday

After working from home on Friday, my sister and I headed into town to meet up with some friends for cocktail hour at The BackStreet, which is a Friday tradition for my mom and her friends. You really can’t beat the $3 wines during happy hour (unreal)! And I can never get enough Emma snuggles.

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I also got to meet up with Meredith (and later, Tiffany!), which was long over-due and such a nice treat!

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We got home and made pizza with dad- my favorite Friday night activity! Mom poured me wine in a “surprise” glass… really couldn’t have been more fitting for me on Friday!

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Saturday

After a morning workout, my sister and I got our hair cut, ran errands and then met up with the rest of the Shapleigh girls (and Zeke) for lunch at the Springvale Publick House. Their food is amazing, but the company was even better. Zeke is getting so big and his personality is hilarious. It’s so fun to watch little babies grow.

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Saturday night, I volunteered at a fundraising event with my mom. I’ll post more on it later, because I think it’s a great cause, but here’s a sneak peak of what I did… felt so weird to be scooping Shaw’s Ridge Farm ice cream again. That was the best summer job!

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Sunday

We all got up and went to church then grocery shopping, then mom and I headed outside for some winter exercise fun. It felt so nice to be in the sun!

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I left relatively early because I knew I wanted to stop at the Lulu outlet in Kittery. I had no idea there was one until my friend, Meaghan, told me. It.was.amazing!!! The deals were seriously crazy good and it was well worth the trip if you’re looking to replenish your lulu wardrobe. Here’s my loot:

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Super soft fleece hoodie ($54!), new, fun, bright pants ($29), black top ($19) and slim-fitting pullover (this wasn’t crazy cheap, but I loved it and had a gift card!). What do you think?

Unfortunately, my Sunday went downhill once I got home and realized that my apartment was in shambles (had a leak and the plumber was coming back on Monday to finish fixing it) and I was without heat (Nstar had to replace the meters and therefore cut power to my apartment, which somehow killed the thermostat… ). Then I broke my favorite wine glass from a winery in Napa. Womp, womp. Luckly, my new Jack Rogers came in and I had chilled white wine (not because it was in the fridge… because it was refrigerator temp in my apartment)… that made my night better!

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Lastly, this meal really made me feel better.

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I took my dad’s homemade sauce, added a bunch of chopped veggies and ground chicken and topped that over baked kale and veggie pasta. So healthy, so tasty, so comforting. I could eat the sauce as a soup, I think. There’s really nothing better than homemade sauce!

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And, that about sums it up! All in all, it was a great weekend and I am starting this week off much better than I ended it. My mom and I talked about how we are trying to focus on how blessed we are compared to others and how we are both trying to focus on that this year. The fact that we were able to go out the back door and snow shoe/cross country ski was amazing… many people can’t do that because of physical limitations, location limitations, or health issues. It’s so easy to focus and dwell on the negative, but it’s so important to try and turn that around and focus on the positives.

Questions for you: When’s the last time you needed to “recharge” your batteries? What was the best part of your weekend? Have you been to the Lulu outlet? What do you do to cheer yourself up?

Memorial Day Weekend at the Gagnon’s

Hey everyone! Who else is feeling a little bit of a let down after the long weekend? I was so happy the sun finally decided to come out yesterday, but where was it the rest of the weekend?! Thankfully, we had loads of fun inside and really didn’t notice the gross weather too much. Since my weekend in Maine was filled with so many fun things, let’s get right to recapping them!

Saturday

Danielle and I met mom in Springvale for lunch at the Springvale Publick House (clearly, we love that place). Dad dropped mom off and took Chuck home so he didn’t have to sit around in the crate for any longer than necessary. After lunch, we grabbed Dairy Queen and puttered around Ocean State Job lot and the Dollar Tree and decided to grab margarita’s at Fresco Mexican Grill. Holy Yum! I had the Pineapple Mango Sage infused margarita with dry ice- such a fun afternoon treat!

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After drinks, we came home and got going on our homemade pizza on the grill night! Dad made his homemade dough and we split it into 6 pieces so that we could have lots of mini pizzas. I made a caramalized onion, zucchini and fresh mozzarella cheese and I think it was the best out of all of them!

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We had such a fun night filled with lots of laughs, good food and wine (duh!).

Sunday

Since we were going to 11am mass, we had plenty of time to hang around and relax when we got up on Sunday. And, with rainy/gross weather, being lazy was totally ok. After church, we all went to Lowe’s and Wal-Mart to get plants and whatnot. By the time we got home, I was STARVING and couldn’t wait to dig into the left-over pizza! Late afternoon, before our BBQ, mom, Danielle and I went for a 1/2 hour walk which felt great!

Sunday night, we hosted a Memorial Day BBQ for our close family friends. There ended up being 15 adults and 2 babies! So fun!

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My mom obviously has lots of friends, but she has 2 best friends that she is always with: Jean and Jeanne, aka “The Jeans”. One cannot do something without the other two, so it is no surprise that when the Jean’s went shopping earlier in the weekend, they had to get mom a matching shirt!

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It was an extra special party because Matt and Courtney came and brought their new baby boy, Alexander! What’s really neat, is that they are letting people choose their own nickname for him: Alex, Xander, Al (although, I wouldn’t call him Al since that’s what my dad’s name is and that would be weird).

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And no Maine post is complete without a picture of one of our favorite babies… Emma Jean! She is getting SO big and is so much fun.

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Sara, as you remember, is so very pregnant at this time! She is due on Wednesday and could give at any moment. It was fun to see her with the babies and know that she will have her own so soon! Come on out, Zeke, we want to play!!

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As always, the food was delicious! Asian salad, broccoli-cauliflower salad, pasta salad, hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken, steak, pork, and so many desserts!

018It was really so fun to see everyone, and even more fun that everyone was referencing Burpees to Bubbly! I love to hear people say “let’s get a pic for Burpees to Bubbly”. Music to my ears:) This pic seemed only fitting since we were most definitely drinking bubbly!

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We are so blessed to have so many wonderful friends around all the time! Never a dull¬†moment at the Gagnon’s ūüėČ

Memorial Day

I woke up to a bright, sunny sky and immediately decided that it would be awesome to go for a run! As I was running, I realized how quiet it was compared to the city running that I usually do. No sidewalks, no cars, no people, just my music, the pavement and a sunny sky. I really focused on being present and enjoying the moment, something I should probably do more often!

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I made my run more fun by adding in strength exercises after every mile- I’ll post it later this week!

Here are some pictures of “Shapleigh Corner”… I am from a very small town and this is the “center” of town. A whopping blinking light!

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028Yup, you’d call this Maine, small town living!

The rest of the day was filled with LOTS of planting and gardening with dad and visiting with our cousin, Karen, who is visiting from Michigan. Always nice to visit with family!

And now we are back to the grind! This week got a little busier when I agreed to sub back-to-back classes tonight (Kickboxing followed by SHRED at the South Station BSC).

Questions for you: Best part of your weekend? Did you have or go to a BBQ for Memorial Day? Are you from a big city or small town?

Scenes from Saturday (Maine Edition)

Good morning! Here’s a little glimpse into our day yesterday! I taught kickboxing at 10 and then my sister, Charlie and I headed north. We met mom for lunch (dad drove her and took Charlie home with him) and then spent the rest of the day running errands with her! For dinner, we had quite the grilled pizza dinner… nothing is ever simple with the Gagnon’s ūüôā Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

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(Dinner Friday night)

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Questions for you: How was your Saturday? Did you go away for Memorial Day weekend? Where is “home” for you?

Maine & Family- The best way to re-charge the batteries!

Hey there! How are you doing today? I wanted to pop in and recap my extended weekend in Maine!

Friday

After working from home all day, I had my dad drive me into town to meet up with my mom and her friends at the Back Street Grill. My mom and her friends have been going there on Friday’s after work for as long as I can remember, and I always love when I have a chance to join everyone! I mean, $3 wines… you cannot go wrong with that.

emma(and getting to snuggle sweet little Emma is one of my favorite things!! Look at those cheeks!)

After a couple of wines, lots of gabbing and lots of laughs, mom drove us home to have dinner with dad (and, more wine!).

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012Friday night=fish night for my dad (mom doesn’t eat fish, but I do so I was pumped about fish night!) and lucky for me, he let me share it with him:) I forget what kind we had (some type of trout?), but it was SO good. Paired up with a side of baked potato and broccoli and I was a happy camper!

Saturday

Since I was in bed embarrassingly¬†early on Friday night, I was up and ready to head to the Y for a 9AM class. Although it wasn’t the instructor I was hoping it would be, it was still a great class and I really liked a lot of the moves that we did-¬†especially this cool “skier” squat. Our heels were up on weights, toes pointed towards each other and we squeezed one of those small weighted balls between our knees. With our arms, we held very light weights and did a lat raise combo. Love!

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014Mom met me for the 10:15 Zumba¬†class! I haven’t taken a Zumba class in MONTHS and MONTHS, but I was surprised with how I was still able to pick up very quickly on the steps and dances… must be that former dancer in me? Regardless, we had a blast!

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After a well-deserved shower, mom and I went to get pedicures¬†(as part of her mother’s day gift). Wow, was I was overdue for a pedi! Getting to sit there and relax for about an hour was really quite nice:)

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Lunch at the Springvale Publick House¬†with a beer tasting post pedi was even nicer ūüėČ

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I went to elementary school and high school with one of the co-owners of this restaurant and I have to say, he has got quite an impressive business going. The food is outstanding (and everything is made in house- salsa, dressings, fries, chili, etc.), the beer and wine selection is quite large and the prices are amazing! Every time I drive past and both times I have been there, it’s been really busy and that makes me so happy for them!

After lunch, mom and I did a little shopping and then I went to visit my old boss from my summer job of 7 years at Shaw’s Ridge Farm. The summers I worked there were some of my most favorite summers. By the end of my time there, I was running the place with the help of some very dear friends (Meredith¬†recently moved to Australia and has her own blog- check it out!). To this day, the ice cream Mr. Shaw makes is still the best I have ever had!

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All I wanted for dinner on Saturday night was BBQ on the grill. Thankfully, my dad is a grill master and loaded up the grill with all sorts of goodies!

003Not long after dinner, I retreated up to my room for some quality time with my iPad to catch up on shows I missed last week (Nashville and Grey’s Anatomy). Mom came up to check on me and thought I looked “too cute” and that it would be a “great pic for the blog”. Someone offering to take my picture?! You don’t have to ask me twice!

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I realize now that this post is getting quite lengthy, so I will save my Mother’s Day recap for later this week!

This past weekend was exactly what the Doctor ordered. I was in bed early every night, fed delicious food and drinks, able to get some workouts in and, most importantly, I was able to spend time with my parents!¬† Any one else feel like you just need to “get out of dodge” sometimes? Meaning, escape the crazy, fast paced city life? Let me tell you, hearing the “peepers” and birds and seeing the stars was so refreshing! But now, it’s back to the grind. I was ready for it, though!

Questions for you: What was the best part of your weekend? Favorite thing you drank or ate? How often do you treat yourself to pedicures?